North Carolina residents overwhelmingly believe offshore drilling would lower gasoline costs — despite the fact that the Bush administration itself says such drilling won’t impact prices for at least another 20 years.
A poll by Elon University found that 69 percent of North Carolina residents support offshore drilling. Another 26 percent are opposed.
The poll also found that 67 percent believe gas prices would fall within a decade, Barb Barrett reports.
"People in North Carolina clearly believe that offshore oil drilling would reduce the pain they feel at the gasoline pump and may agree with any initiative to lift the ban that’s in place," said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University poll.
Here’s the breakdown, according to the poll, of respondents saying when they thought prices would be affected by offshore drilling:
— Immediately to less than one year: 14 percent.
— One to five years: 29 percent.
— Six to 10 years: 24 percent.
— Will never affect gas prices: 6 percent.
More after the jump.
Nearly 80 percent also thought any oil and gas garnered from offshore drilling should be used only in the United States.
Increasing support for offshore drilling has helped shaped the debate in Washington. Politicians are increasingly becoming more open to the idea. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican running for re-election, changed her mind this summer to support offshore drilling.
And several Democratic leaders, including presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, also now are open to the idea.
Still, a report from the Energy Information Administration said that opening the Outer Continental Shelf to offshore drilling would not impact oil prices until at least 2030. Even then, according to the report, any impact would be "insignificant" because oil prices are determined on the international market.
The agency is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Elon poll of 411 North Carolina adults was conducted Sept. 15-18. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.